Pen in hand, the stalker considered these words. Did they fully convey the excitement that was flooding through their body, the heady, dizzy thrill of closing in, at long last, on the object of desire?
The fantasy had always been extremely particular, extremely specific. Luckily, the stalker was not only a very patient person, but a born planner. Waiting had never been an issue: in fact, it had been a highly pleasurable part of the game. The slow, long-range task of putting all the pieces into place had been enormously satisfying. All the obstacles had been cleared, one by one, until every circumstance slotted perfectly together, the anticipation building month by month, year by year, until this exquisite, culminating moment.
Finally, they were so close, the stalker and the target, Catalina. One of the few celebrities so famous that she was known simply by her first name, an accolade reserved only for singers: mere actors never had that privilege, no matter how many Oscars they won. She was a star worldwide: there wasn’t a country in the world where a mention of Catalina would not spark instant recognition, prompt someone to hum a chorus of one of her ridiculously catchy songs. Her schedule was tightly controlled, her public appearances planned out far in advance, including the one on which she was about to embark.
This was where the meticulous organisation skills had been so crucial. The stalker had schemed and plotted and planned like a general moving troops on a tactics board, moving the central piece, Catalina, to exactly this point, bringing her and her stalker together, in the same airport terminal, about to board the same plane, where they would share the same air, the same space.
And then they would join the Mile High Club together.
There was no doubt in the stalker’s mind that once this had happened, everything would change. That had been the conviction, right from the beginning. Once the eagerly-expected physical connection with Catalina was established, the entire world would crack and reform, reshape itself into an entirely new, glittering creation. It was fanciful, the stalker acknowledged with a little smile, but the image that symbolised this transformation so vividly was the scene in the first Superman film, where Christopher Reeve, alone in an icy, desolate Polar landscape, places a single crystal into the snow and watches in dazzled wonder as the bleak white wastes explode into a riot of diamond-bright shards of glass, shooting up to form an ice palace fit for a queen.
Fit for Catalina. Beautiful, enchanting, magical Catalina. The stalker drew in a long breath, thinking of how close they were to their own personal queen; the hand holding the pen trembled. Only a few hours until the LuxeLiner was slicing through the cold skies over the Atlantic, heading for a midnight landing at Los Angeles International. And before its wheels touched down on the LAX runway, the dream the stalker had been nursing for so very long would have come to pass. Catalina would have been seduced and conquered by the sheer, unstoppable force of the stalker’s love for her.
Love, and lust. The stalker’s eyes, which had been filmed over dreamily with anticipatory desire, refocused on the words printed neatly on the paper of the notebook. The pen lowered, made some excisions: the message should be simpler and more concise. Catalina would have drunk some champagne at the launch, possibly taken a sleeping pill when she boarded the plane. Rumour had it that she was withdrawn at the moment, the usual vivacious, bubbly, outgoing personality, for which she was beloved by her multitude of fans throughout the world, subdued. Normally, Catalina was always positive, always smiling, always joyous in interviews, just like her music.
For the last few months, however, she had barely been on the media radar, and was emerging from seclusion only because of a long-standing professional obligation to sing at the upcoming Oscars. She had just completed the British leg of the pre-publicity tour and was now heading for LA, the Dolby Theatre and her performance of Forever Is Now, the song she had written for the latest Disney animated blockbuster.
To the stalker, that title was the perfect omen, the symbol of the future into which the newly-minted couple were about to walk, entwined, beaming, madly in love. It was as if Catalina had known, somehow, what was in store for her, whom she would meet on her journey to sing that song live before a TV audience of forty million people. As if she had predicted her own imminent happiness when she composed those lyrics.
The stalker drew in a long, slow breath of sheer pleasure. Inside their skull, Catalina was singing Forever is Now, every note, every inflection, every flourish and modulation exquisitely familiar to the stalker. That song belonged to the two of them already. It was their theme tune, their love song. They would hold hands and listen to it together over and over again, smiling into each other’s eyes with sheer delight that finally, they had found each other, and their life as a couple had begun.
This was the most important communication of all the ones the stalker had written to their object of desire. There must be no opportunity for Catalina to misunderstand the stalker’s note. With further careful consideration, a few more words were pared away, until the stalker nodded in satisfaction at the edit. It was copied to a fresh page of the notebook, torn out and folded away neatly, slipped into a pocket, ready to be delivered at just the right psychological moment, containing only the most essential message. Really, what more was there to say than this?
‘Are you ready to join the Mile High Club? It’s time.’
And it was signed, like all of the previous messages had been:
Cat Is Mine